Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #236

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This story is part of an Arc: "Brand Corporation and Tarantula"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

Diving further into the mystery surrounding the Brand corporation's dirty deeds, Spider-Man has come to the home of James Melvin, one of the Brand's big wigs. Not only was Brand involved with the Wisp's creation, but the company is also behind Tarantula's transformation into an actual spider.

In Detail...

"Death Knell!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #236
Jan 1983 : SMURF 236.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 4 of "Brand Corporation and Tarantula"
Editor:  Tom DeFalco
Writer:  Roger Stern
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Frank Giacoia
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Megazine #6
Articles: Robertson, Joe "Robbie", Tarantula I

Tarantula holds a seemingly dead Melvin, but Wisp assures Spidey that Melvin is alive and that Tarantula is under Wisp's hypnotic control. After a brief flashback on how the two survived the fall into the bay last issue (Wisp doesn't breathe), Tarantula breaks free from Wisp's spell and goes to feast on Melvin. Wisp stops Tarantula from eating Melvin (because he wants to take revenge on him all by himself) by knocking him out, giving Spidey just enough time to take Melvin and scoot.

Spidey leaves Melvin webbed to the top of a building and gets Wisp's attention so he'll follow him. It doesn't take Tarantula long to regain consciousness and he's spotted by a news crew that's itching for a juicy story. Back to Spidey's chase with Wisp, the web-head manages to lure Wispy to a power plant and hurl him through a magnetic field, rendering Wisp immobile.

With Wisp webbed up, Spidey makes his way to Melvin but Tarantula is already there, ready to resume his interrupted dinner. Spidey tackles Tarantula but he's easily swatted away. The news crew that was following the Tarantula gets a feed and the story gets broadcast on live television. It doesn't take long for the crew to experience "technical difficulties" because the station is owned by Brand.

Wisp cannot believe that as tired as Spider-Man is and as rotten a scumbag Melvin is, he still fights on to protect him. Instead of taking his vengeance on Melvin, Wisp decides to help Spidey by freeing Melvin from his bonds so he can get away from Tarantula.

Tarantula webs Spidey up and both are amazed that he's able to shot webs. It is then that Tarantula realizes that he has fully become a spider. He looks down at the police and begs them to put him out of his misery. They open fire and Tarantula lands on the street in a pool of blood.

Melvin tells Wisp that he can't prove Melvin has done anything wrong but Wisp counters that argument with a hypnotic suggestion. Melvin walks over to a cop and spills all. On the roof, Wisp thanks Spidey for stopping him. He says he'll have to learn to cop with what he is and with that, he bids the wall-crawler farewell.

At the Bugle, Peter asks why everyone looks so glum. He says the good guys won, the bad guys lost and the Brand is no more. Robbie doesn't think it's all that simple. On the news, the Brand is doing the usual cover up story and of course, the news station is owned by Roxxon.

In General...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've never liked Tarantula. He's always been the poster boy for sucky villains, but man, did I feel for him when he begged to be killed and the fuzz took him out. Once again, I commend Roger Stern for making me care about a character I never could stand.

Overall Rating...

A character I've never cared for died, and I felt shocked by his death. That is the mark of good story-telling. The rest of the issue was good, too. Three and a half webs.